“Lab diamonds” versus “Mine diamonds”

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✓ new technologies → change → new era

The world is changing. In most cases, new technologies become drivers of change. They penetrate the realm of eternal values and change established traditions. And today we are witnessing an interesting phenomenon – the diamond market is entering a new era where lab-created diamonds are a reality.

✓ 80% of Millennials would consider Lab diamond purchase

What about the rest? You are probably unsure because the facts about Lab diamonds are not well known and there are few trustworthy sources that provide the information needed to make an informed decision.

Are there differences between “lab diamonds” & “mine diamonds”?

✓ Identical chemical, physical and optical properties as “mine diamond”.

Lab-Grown Diamonds = same material (crystallized carbon), same atomic lattice structure (cubic)

Diamond – the material, not the gemstone – is a mineral composed of “essentially pure carbon crystallized in the isometric cubic system,” according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which develops trade guidelines for the gem and jewelry industry.

Lab diamonds often have better color & clarity & hardness than mine diamonds

Although the FTC says diamonds are essentially pure carbon, the vast majority of mine diamonds contain trace amounts of other substances, notably nitrogen, which gives them a yellow color, or (rarely) boron, which gives them a blue color. In addition, they usually contain inclusions, tiny foreign bodies that were trapped in the still-forming diamond millions of years ago.

Lab diamonds therefore have often even a better color and purity (= quality). Partly Lab diamonds are even harder than mine diamonds because of a better “compression”.. Nevertheless, inclusions also occur in lab diamonds. The inclusion types of lab diamonds are also found in mine diamonds. So they are not different/different types of inclusions. Only a few mine diamonds have so-called “natural inclusions”. Analogous to a mosquito in an amber. Such inclusions do not occur in lab diamonds in the “clean” lab environment.

How can “lab diamonds” be distinguished from “mine diamonds”?

Lab-grown diamonds, although identical in appearance to mine diamonds, have very subtle differences that can only be detected by trained gemologists using sophisticated equipment designed for this purpose.

It is important that lab-grown diamonds can be identified because buyers need to know what they are buying, and because there are often significant price differences between lab and mine-grown diamonds. Danger = that you are sold a “lab diamond” for a much more expensive “mine diamond”.

✓ traditional gemmological observations and old-style “diamond detectors” are not able to distinguish them

IGI, GCAL & GIA → machines specifically designed for differentiation (Type II + more homogeneous growth pattern).

Because Lab diamonds are chemically, physically, and optically identical to mine diamonds, traditional gemological observations and old-style “diamond detectors” are unable to distinguish them. Identification in a professional gemological laboratory or with sophisticated equipment specifically designed by GIA and other organizations are the only reliable methods to distinguish them from mine diamonds.

Difference = growth morphology in rough diamonds

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Photos with permission of IGI “Courtesy of International Gemological Institute”.

You can see that the rough diamond as such has different shapes. With the HPHT rough diamond you can also minimally see the pressure point. In the case of CVD rough diamonds, you can see layers of how the diamond has grown at the outermost edge.

Difference: Growth structure

There is a different growth structure of the rough diamond. However, this is no longer visible inside the cut diamond/brilliant! → irrelevant!

How do the certification companies manage to identify Lab-Diamonds as such?
You see, even for extremely well and very specifically trained professionals who have the specially designed equipment, it is extremely difficult to make this distinction.

Lab diamonds are characterized by excellent quality:

  1. Type II (only 2% of mine diamonds = purest, most expensive and most sought after white diamonds).
  2. More homogeneous growth pattern

Virtually all Lab diamonds are Type II. Only just 2% of white mine diamonds are Type II!
Therefore, this is the first test done at Gemological Laboratories to distinguish Lab diamonds from Mine diamonds. If a diamond is Type II, it is suspiciously “too good”.

  • Type II
    • almost 100% nitrogen-free (= WITHOUT nitrogen)
    • approx. 2% of all mine diamonds → very rare group of diamonds
  • Type IIa
    • purest diamonds = consist almost entirely of carbon
    • they can be colorless (White), brown (Brown) or pink (Pink)

Lab diamonds are made of the same material (crystallized carbon), same atomic lattice structure (cubic) and generally have a more uniform/homogeneous, perfect growth pattern. In nature, when a diamond is formed, there is often more temperature or more pressure from one side. It is rare that over the weeks and months of formation are exactly the same conditions everywhere. However, this is exactly what can be done in the laboratory. In the laboratory, the temperature and pressure are controlled uniformly from all sides and throughout the entire growth phase.

Therefore, the second test is the study of the growth pattern. They try to categorize the morphology of diamonds using a diagram that lists the growth process, typical growth morphology and visual examples of mine, HPHT and CVD rough diamonds.

This diagram shows the different rough diamonds based on their growth form, or growth morphology. Although this shape is lost after a diamond has been cut and polished, identification is still possible by looking for fluorescence patterns (under the UV light) resulting from, among other things, the particular growth morphology – a difficult task!

As a rule, the cut diamonds are sent to the certification companies already declared as “lab grown”.

✓ Growth morphology in rough diamonds does NOT play a role for polished diamonds!

Typically, lab-grown diamonds weigh one carat or less, but with improvements in technology and techniques, stones weighing over 10 carats can now be grown.

Why buy a “mining/mining diamond”?

  • A mining diamond is billions of years old (took for formation also faster, lay so long in earth)
  • You can find them in Nature/Mine/Mining
  • Some diamonds contain natural inclusions (natural Inclusions)

Why buy a “Lab Diamond”?

Who does not set extremely much value on above reasons should decide for a Lab-Diamond!

We don’t quite understand the “natural inclusions” argument. Before Lab diamonds came along inclusions were also unpopular with mine diamonds. And now all of a sudden it’s supposed to be a good worthy cause? Hmmm…

Main reasons

  • Real diamonds (official certificates IGI, GCAL, GIA etc.)
  • Up to -70% cheaper than Mine Diamonds
  • Affordable colored diamonds (Fancy Color Diamonds)
  • More sustainable & environmentally friendly & social/ethical (ESG; sustainability)

Other reasons

  • 100% Real, genuine diamonds (Diamond = Diamond, according to FTC Federal Trade Commission)
  • Even experts with common instruments and diamond detectors, UV light, magnifying glass etc. are not able to tell the difference.
  • Up to -70% cheaper than Mine Diamonds
  • White + Fancy Color Diamonds at Affordable Prices
  • Certificates also exactly the same as mining diamonds from independent gemological institutes like IGI & GIA etc.
  • Laser engraving on the edge of the Lab diamond with number (except very small stones)
  • Also crystallized carbon = natural material
  • Chemically & physically & optically identical
  • Only difference = origin not from mining/mine
  • Sustainability + Sustainability
  • Better CO2 footprint, less water consumption, less energy, less mineral waste
  • No overexploitation through mining of the environment
  • Ethical & Social
  • Origin precisely known
  • No blood diamonds
  • No child labour
  • More carat / bigger diamond / better quality for the same money
  • ATTENTION: not to be confused with “fake diamonds” like “Diamond Simulants” e.g. Moissanite from silicon carbide) or “Zirconia” (Zirconium(IV)-oxide) etc.

Nature & Technological Evolution

DIAMONDS OF THE FUTURE

Green World Diamonds AG cares about nature

We believe that diamonds grown in the laboratory represent the pinnacle of human achievement. It is time to take responsibility for what mankind has done and will do to our planet, and to think about the true price of the products we consume. The use of rennet diamonds has seriously challenged the process of mining diamonds. Our team consists of only the best professionals. We work with all clients and the end buyer to ensure that our lab grown diamonds are handled in the most professional manner.